Giffords Takes 'Major Leap Forward'

Doctors say she's moving arms and legs on command, becoming aware
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2011 12:10 PM CST
In this file photo provided by the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, she is is shown with her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.   (AP Photo/Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords,File)
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(Newser) – When Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes for the first time yesterday, it was no fluke. Doctors today gave their most upbeat update yet: She's moving her arms and legs on command and keeping her eyes open for 15 minutes at a stretch. They've started "aggressive physical therapy" and hope to have her sitting in a chair tomorrow, reports the Arizona Daily Star. “This is a major leap forward," said Dr. Michael Lemole. "This is a major milestone." Giffords, he added, "is starting to become aware of her surroundings."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of Giffords' friends who was in the room yesterday when she first opened her eyes, described the moment: "It was raw courage," she tells the AP. "It was raw strength. It was so beautiful and so moving. She wanted us to know that she was with us a hundred percent and understood everything we were saying." Said Dr. Lemole: "We would be wise to acknowledge miracles.”

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